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Confused on how to help my younger brother

Community Member

Hi there,

It's been a while since I seek out this community. At the moment, I'm currently working to try and save up enough money to get proper medical help for my brother. However, I'm looking for advice on how to better support him until then.

My brother is 18 years old and has a somewhat shaky relationship with my parents, especially my mother. He's been suffering from severe depression from the constant criticism and emotional abuse that my mother inflicted on him. During these times, I'd usually accompany him and try my best to give him the support that he needs. Whenever he needs reassurance, I'm always there for him. When he needs to let it out, I'll be the shoulder for him to cry on.

However, I have to be honest that at times I genuinely can't always be there for him as I'm also going through my own mental and emotional hurdles. It hurts me during the times that I can't be there for him because I feel like I'm not doing enough. I try to encourage him to do some more mindful activities to ease his mind or remind him to find healthier coping mechanisms. But he'd brush me off and say that it wouldn't work or straight up just doesn't respond.

I just don't know how else am I able to help him. I'm afraid that I might've come off as disingenuous in my concern for him or that I'm being too overbearing. I'm just confused how to find the right balance in being the support system that he needs right now.

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Noella, many thanks for posting your comment and understand the situation you both are in, especially suffering from any emotional and constant criticism by his mother, which may indeed flow onto you as well, this denies any opportunity of being able to form any confidence within yourself and I'm not a doctor qualified to say this.

The help you are trying to provide for your brother is monumental and be somewhere he can cry on your shoulder to explain his frustration, while perhaps you are hiding your own problems which are also a great concern.

I am sorry that your mother is inflicting this obscene pressure as it doesn't allow anyone to develop their future, with friendship, careers and even trying to enjoy any hobbies.

Sometimes a sibling trying to help their brother/sister isn't overbearing, it's a place for them to come and express how they are struggling and not seen as controlling.

If I can suggest that he contact Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 by phone, webchat or online for someone to talk to, and these are trained counsellors, but adapt to the age of the person they're talking with.

Another option is, are you both in a position you can move out of this home and there are many possibilities this can happen, but wait until we hear back from you.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Noella99 Thankyou for your Post and welcome,

What an amazing thing to do so much for your brother, you are amazing!
I can definitely relate as I suffered from a lot of emotional abuse from my mother
Very understandable that you cant always be there as I imagine you would have also obtained some trauma from growing up in the same environment.
I understand it hurts you but you need to look after yourself in order to be there for him properly.

It sounds to me like your brother isn't in the right mindset to be able to help himself as the techniques you have given him definitely can be beneficial
However I believe he needs to hear this from. professional and also needs to talk to someone about this

Trauma does not go away on its own or resolve, it needs to be dealt with and the best way is for him to see someone, a counsellor or psychologist can really help.
It also seems like you have a lot going on for yourself too and u can benefit from talking to someone too

If you would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.